Date: Apr 1, 2013 8:40 AM
Author: Frederick Williams
Subject: Re: Mathematics and the Roots of Postmodern Thought

Dan wrote:

> Real mathematicians do their own thing ... no physicist thought
> Hilbert spaces or Riemannian geometry would have any real application
> when they first appeared .

That's a big claim to make. It seems likely that when they (Hilbert
spaces and Riemannian geometry) first appeared, not every physicist
voiced an opinion that has come down to us.

If it was von Neumann[1] who invented Hilbert space, then it seems it
was invented in order to give quantum mechanics a rigorous underpinning.

[1] von Neumman, _Mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics_,
Princeton UP.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by
this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
Jonathan Swift: Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting